Idaho National Laboratory Coding Coalition Offers Grants, Support for Idaho Schools

Published online: Nov 11, 2020 Education And Arts
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IDAHO FALLS -- Idaho National Laboratory’s K-12 Education Enrichment Program has opened registration for its Coding Coalition, which will support extracurricular cybersecurity competitions in Idaho high schools.

Available to educators across Idaho, the coalition will provide $1,500 in grant funding, resources and INL employee support to the first 30 eligible advisers who assemble an extracurricular club that has committed to participating in a CyberStart America program.

Sponsored by the SANS Institute and the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, with support from the state of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory, CyberStart America is an innovative, free cybersecurity competition designed to help students explore a passion for cybersecurity or computer science, win recognition for their schools, and qualify to win prizes and scholarship money.

Student teams will work to solve a series of online challenges and puzzles that teach basic coding and cybersecurity skills. Any student team that completes the first five challenges will be invited to join the national competition for a chance to win prizes and scholarships.

Formerly known as Girls Go CyberStart, this year’s CyberStart America competition welcomes all high school students. Special communities are open for young women and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets to encourage participation from these groups offering additional awards and support.

In addition to funding, the Coding Coalition will pair an INL employee ambassador with each qualifying club. These cybersecurity and information technology professionals, recruited from the lab’s National & Homeland Security and Information Management groups, will serve as cyber guides for the students and advisers, lending their expertise to help the clubs. Other resources for advisers will be provided.

“INL’s K-12 Education Program is proud to partner with our colleagues in National & Homeland Security and Information Management to offer this program to teams across Idaho,” said Jennifer Jackson, INL’s K-12 Education Program manager. “This is a major expansion of our program and we look forward to some incredible partnerships with schools across the state.”

Last year, INL’s Coding Coalition supported a number of teams across eastern Idaho, including one from Skyline High School that placed 29th in the national competition.

Registration for the CyberStart America Programs should be made here. Advisers interested in the coalition must have a team registered to participate in a CyberStart America program before registering with INL. Registration is open at stem.inl.gov through Dec. 9, 2020.

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